Grandfather Dines With Memorial to Late Wife at Wedding, Melts Our Hearts

"Pawpaw sat and ate with mawmaw."

viral photo of Billy Gray sitting with tribute to late wife at wedding
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A photo of a grandfather sitting with a tribute to his late wife at his granddaughter's wedding is going viral and reminding everyone of the lasting power of love.

On July 6th, Sahrah Elswick, 20, married Zachery Elswick, 21, at an intimate ceremony in the backyard of her husband's grandparents' house in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

viral photo of grandfather at wedding
Sahrah Elswick

One of the chairs was reserved for Sahrah's late grandmother, Barbara Gray, who had passed away in May 2017 from colon cancer. It was adorned with some cherished photos of her, as well as a framed message that read, "We know you would be here today if heaven wasn't so far away."

"I wanted to include her because she was always such an important person in my life and I don't think I could have even had a wedding without her 'there' in some way," Sahrah told Best Life.

viral photo of grandfather sitting with tribute to late wife at wedding
Sahrah Elswick

Her late grandmother and her 71 year-old grandfather, Billy Gray, had been together for 45 years before she passed away.

"My grandpa helped with the trash run in their home town and he went to their house to pick up her garbage and she was outside," Sahrah said, when asked how they met. "He thought she was the most beautiful woman and asked her what her name was and he says the rest is history."

true love viral tweet
Sahrah Elswick

So when she saw him sitting next to the tribute they had set up for her, it immediately drove her to tears.

"I had to have a guest at my wedding get a picture because I completely broke down when I saw what he was doing," she said. "It was the most pure thing I have ever seen and it completely broke my heart."

On Sunday, Sahrah shared the touching photos on Twitter, where they quickly gained more than 18,000 retweets in just two days.

People were so moved that they began sharing their own stories of the ways they included lost loved ones in major life events.

And while Sahrah wasn't expecting the photos to gain so much attention, she's glad they've received the response that they have.

"Everyone seems to be so touched by his small act of love, it warms my heart. Everyone deserves someone who would do the same thing as my grandfather did without looking for any sort of attention. I want to photo to send the message that love never dies."

For more on the enduring power of love, don't miss the 40 Secrets of Couples Who've Been Married 40 Years!

Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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